The Hawks (1914 - 1918)
After the turn of the 20th century, war clouds began to gather over Europe. It did not take long for powered aircraft to find their way into the growing military forces of warring nations. Several young men from British Columbia had gone to join Britain’s Royal Flying Corps and Royal Naval Air Service during World War I. There are two military biplane replicas of that era on display at the BC Aviation Museum.
The Nieuport 17 was one of the best French fighters of the First World War. Many hundreds served with the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service and were very popular with their pilots and ground crews. Canadian ace Billy Bishop scored 47 of his 72 kills while flying a Nieuport 17, winning the Victoria Cross and becoming the second highest scoring British Empire pilot.
Our 7/8 scale replica was built by Jack Blair and flew with a modern Rotax engine. After Jack’s death it was donated to the Museum by his widow in 1993. The replica rotary engine was built by volunteer Jeff Phillips.
Royal Aircraft Factory SE5A
The Royal Aircraft Factory’s SE5A was one of the Allies finest fighting scouts of the First World War. It entered service in 1917 and at a time when rotary engines dominated it was fitted with the 150hp Hispano-Suiza water-cooled V8. Not only did it prove to be an excellent fighting machine, it was also easy to build and maintain. It was used by all the Allied top “aces”.
Our 7/8th scale replica was built by Dennis Mitchell, and flew with a modern engine. It was donated to the Museum in 1995, and it was decided to cease flying and replace its engine with a scaled replica of the Hispano-Suiza. This was built without plans by the Museum’s Jeff Phillips.